PhD in Business Administration

Urban land economics specialization


The Real Estate Division in the Sauder School of Business at UBC is known to be one of the best in the world. Our faculty sit on editorial boards of some of the top journals, including Journal of Urban Economics, Real Estate Economics, and Regional Science and Urban Economics. Our PhD program draws on the ULE faculty as well as those in Finance, Strategy and Business Economics, Management Science, Economics, and other fields. 

A typical background for qualified applicants might include undergraduate or perhaps graduate training in economics, mathematics, engineering, or other quantitative disciplines. Students are accepted only if the Division believes that they have the ability to succeed in the program. Once a student is admitted, the faculty members are intensely interested in guiding the new researcher through the stages of the doctoral program and in assisting him or her in creating independent research. Except for those funded from outside sources, at least three years of funding is guaranteed to all admitted students. 

Program of study

Students are required to take a cross-divisional course in research methods, a course in teaching methods, and the following classes (or their equivalents):

  • COMM 581 Statistical Methodology I
  • COMM 582 Statistical Methodology II
  • COMM 604 Advanced Topics in Urban Land Economics I
    This doctoral seminar considers advanced topics in location theory, spatial pricing, optimum towns, housing, urban structure, and land development. 
  • COMM 605 Advanced Topics in Urban Land Economics II
    This doctoral seminar covers advanced topics in real estate asset pricing, market efficiency, mortgage options, risk allocation in mortgage markets, housing demand and rationing mechanisms in housing finance. 
  • COMM 609 Seminar in Urban Land Economics
    Seminars on current research of distinguished visitors and faculty from Urban Land Economics and elsewhere in UBC.
  • COMM 671 Theory of Finance
  • ECON 500 Microeconomics 

The remaining coursework is selected with the guidance of the PhD advisor both from Urban Land Economics and from other divisions and departments such as Accounting, Management Science, Economics, Mathematics and Finance. 

Most students write their comprehensive examination after their second year of coursework and spend the remainder of the program working on their dissertation research.

Sample Program Sequence

A typical schedule for a PhD student in Urban Land Economics may look as follows. Selection of elective courses will depend on the interests and background of the student. 

Year 1 Fall ECON 422 (Math for Economists), ECON 500, COMM 581, electives 
Year 1 Winter COMM 582, COMM 609, electives 

Year 2 Fall COMM 604, COMM 671, electives 
Year 2 Winter COMM 605, electives

Year 3 Preparation and presentation of thesis proposal

Year 4 Preparation and defense of thesis 

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